Ousted Ukrainian President urges Zelensky to stop bloodshed

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Moscow/Kiev, March 8

Viktor Yanukovych, the fourth President of Ukraine who was ousted from power during the 2014 protests, have urged the country's incumbent leader Volodymyr Zelensky to "stop the bloodshed".

Yanukovych, who currently lives in Russia in exile, said he wanted to "address Volodymyr Zelensky in a presidential capacity and even a little bit in a fatherly one", Ukrayinska Pravda reported citing the Moscow-based RIA Novosti news agency.

"I understand that you have many 'advisors' but it is your personal responsibility to stop bloodshed and reach a peace agreement.

"Ukraine, Donbas, and Russia all expect you to do this. The people of Ukraine and your partners in the West will be grateful to you," the pro-Moscow former leader said.

In November 2013, a wave of large-scale protests, known as the Euromaidan, erupted in response to Yanukovych's sudden decision to not sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), and instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The protests continued as Russia pressured Ukraine not to sign the Ukrainian-European Association Agreement despite an overwhelming approval by Parliament to finalise it, amid widespread calls for Yanukovych to resign.

In January-February 2014, large scale protests engulfed Kiev which led to the deaths 108 demonstrators and 13 police officers.

In the wake of the most severe violence in the history of Ukraine, the Ukrainian parliament on February 22, 2014, voted to remove Yanukovych from office.

Yanukovych called the vote illegal and possibly coerced and took exile in Russia.

Protests further escalated after his departure in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which led to a Russian intervention, the subsequent annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the creation of the self-proclaimed breakaway states of Donetsk and Luhansk.


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